Imagine buying tickets to Paris, France. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Seine River- they all seem like a magical destination for anyone to visit. You can almost smell the fresh croissants and coffee in the air.
But what if your loved one is terminally ill? How would you make this trip happen? What would you expect overseas? Here are some tips to prepare yourself before going on an international journey with a terminally ill loved one:
1. Get Support and Guidance from a Hospice Care Team
Hospice care is a type of care that is given to people who are terminally ill. It focuses on providing comfort and support to the patient and their family. A hospice care team can help you prepare for an international trip with a loved one who is terminally ill.
First, they can provide advice on how to transport the patient. They might recommend that you use a medical airline who has staff members that know how to administer medications throughout the flight, monitor vital signs, and help with any other needs your loved one may have.
Also, if their medical condition permits it, hospice care professionals can provide tips on what things your loved one should bring along for comfort (such as favorite items of clothing or blankets). They can inform you of your legal rights as a patient and what paperwork should be taken. As well as give you any other advice that may come in handy while traveling internationally with a terminally ill loved one.
2. Talk With Your Loved One’s Primary Care Physician
If you haven’t already, talk with your loved one’s primary care physician about their health status before traveling abroad. You need to understand exactly what their current state of health is so that you can better prepare yourself for what aspects of travel could become obstacles.
One of these is access to medications and supplies. A lot of these will need to be prepared ahead so that you have them when you leave for the trip.
Your loved one’s condition may worsen because the supply ran out, and then it may take a few days or weeks to find a doctor who can prescribe additional medication or support treatment (such as intravenous medications).
You also need to make sure that you can transport all of their medications with you on the flight. Sometimes people are limited by how much liquid (or even gels/liquids) they can bring through security. Contact your airline first and inquire whether these items will be allowed before packing them for your trip.
3. Pick Places with Excellent Healthcare Facilities
The last thing you want to happen while traveling abroad is for your loved one’s condition to worsen. So before booking a trip, pick a destination with excellent healthcare facilities so that you can have options if something happens.
Especially look for places where the medical staff speaks English fluently because this will make communicating with doctors and nurses much easier. Hospitals in Europe or Asia are often well-equipped enough to deal with medical emergencies, but having someone who speaks English may be helpful during treatment.
If you’re not sure about the quality of care in a particular location, check online reviews from other travelers who have stayed at the same hotels/resorts in the past. There are always people willing to share their experiences!
4. Make Sure Your Loved One Has Legal Documentation
If you’re planning to travel with someone who is not a citizen of your home country, make sure they have all the necessary legal documentation to allow them entry into the destination country. This includes their passport, visa, or any other paperwork that may be required.
Another thing you need to look out for is legal limits on medications. Some countries have restrictions on controlled substances such as opioids and benzodiazepines because they are often used recreationally instead of being taken under medical supervision for specific conditions.
So if your loved one needs to take these kinds of medication, then it would be best to carry these items in your checked luggage rather than carry-on they will be more susceptible to loss or theft.
5. Plan the Places to Visit
If you’re planning to visit a destination that does not have excellent healthcare facilities, then it may be best to plan the places you’ll visit very carefully. Don’t go too far from your hotel or resort because this will make getting medical attention more difficult if something happens.
Also, try not to overdo things when sightseeing. Make sure that your loved one rests frequently so that they don’t overexert themselves while overseas. It also helps to leave time for just relaxing in the hotels or resorts while on vacation.
Above all, try to have fun! Never underestimate what it means to be able to spend time with loved ones while they are still alive. When you’re overseas on vacation with a terminally ill loved one, create as many memories as you can and cherish those times because they may not happen again in the future.